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Susan B. Cahn

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Scientist
Susan has 30+ years of experience conducting qualitative, survey, and applied research to study public health and health care delivery and payment.

As a mixed-methods researcher, Susan participates in NORC’s evaluation research, leading a range of primary data collection and data analytic activities, such as qualitative interviews and focus groups, survey development and administration, and claims analyses. She has expertise in the analysis and application of administrative and secondary data to evaluation. For example, she designed and conducted analyses of Medicare claims for studies of telehealth and diabetes and co-authored the 2018 Information on Medicare Telehealth, a trend analysis of the use of telehealth services by Medicare beneficiaries from 2014 to 2016. She is a lead investigator of NORC’s independent research on health care affordability, including the crowdfunding phenomena and hospital charity care, using a combination of opinion and social media data.

Susan is a member of the qualitative research team assessing the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model and led the development of the fourth and final ACO Leadership Survey. She leads the qualitative portion of the Minnesota Substance Use Disorder (SUD) System Reform Section 1115(a) Demonstration Project evaluation. She is a co-lead and technical advisor to the evaluation of the Illinois Contraceptive Access Now initiative. She currently serves as a Project Lead for the Office of Science and Data Policy, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services, managing a portfolio of short turnaround qualitative research and implementation projects, such as literature reviews, framework development and training related to the Evidence Act. Susan served as a Senior Advisor for the Formative Evaluation of a City-wide Hospital-based Victims Services Intervention in Chicago for the National Institute of Justice, examining data collection, availability and sharing.

Susan is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public. Prior to joining NORC, she worked for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities, studying the relationship between the primary care safety net and stage at breast cancer diagnosis in medically underserved neighborhoods in Chicago. She served as Director of Research for IFF, a community development financing institution, managing a research unit focused on nonprofit corporations and service delivery. For IFF, she conducted studies of school performance, enrollment and geography in Chicago, St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Kansas City, Missouri and nonprofit services and funding in Latino communities in Chicago’s metropolitan area. She began her career with the Chicago Department of Public Health where she established and directed the Office of Managed Care that was authorized to monitor health plans and provided consumer assistance.



University of Illinois at Chicago


Johns Hopkins University


Johns Hopkins University


University of Pennsylvania

Appointments & Affiliations

Part-Time Professor

Parkinson School of Applied Health Sciences and Public Health

Project Contributions

Evaluation of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model

Assessing an innovative model to reduce Medicare costs


Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services